During a meeting in Washington on November 6, foreign ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed to hold four technical governmental meetings at the level of water ministers, and the World Bank and the United States would support and attend the meetings as observers.
During the first meeting, which kicked off in Addis Ababa on Friday and wrapped up on Saturday, technical elements governing the process of filling and operation of the dam were discussed, the ministry said in a press statement on Saturday, Xinhua news agency reported.
The ministers also discussed how to deal with possible droughts, protracted drought and the refill situation, in addition to tackling the coordination mechanism between the three countries, where each country presented its views on these elements, according to the statement.
The ministers of water resources agreed to continue technical consultations on all controversial issues during the second meeting in Cairo.
During the Washington meetings earlier in November, the foreign ministers of the three countries reaffirmed their joint commitment to reach a comprehensive, cooperative, adaptive, sustainable, and mutually beneficial agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD and to establish a clear process for fulfilling that commitment in accordance with the 2015 Declaration of Principles.
They also agreed to work toward completion of an agreement by Jan. 15, 2020, and would attend two meetings in Washington in December and January to assess and support progress.
Ethiopia started building the GERD in 2011, while Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the river for its fresh water, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the water resources of the river.
( With inputs from IANS )